By: Kaitlyn Vincent and Cairo Spencer

Cumulus Logo


Cumulus was co-founded in 1997 by brothers Lew and John Dickey in Atlanta, Georgia. The company broadcasts local programming as well as sports, syndicated media, entertainment brands and much more. The company has 447 owned-and-operated stations in 90 different US markets. The two platforms of Cumulus includes Cumulus Radio and Westwood One which contribute to massive reach of 245 million listeners per week. [1] 

Similarly, Cumulus is known for the station NASH, which launched in 2013 and is the Nation’s leading provider of country music. In addition to the NASH radio sector, NASH has a country weekly magazine, television, live events and their own record label. Cumulus is now the second largest radio company behind iHeartMedia. [2] [13]

Key Executives 


Mary G. Berner – President and Chief Executive Officer


John Abbot – Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer


Richard S. Denning – Senior VP, Secretary & General Counselor


Cumulus Radio and Westwood One are both syndicated services of Cumulus Media. In 2013, Cumulus acquired Westwood One which focuses on selling syndicated advertisements. Together they have become the exclusive radio broadcast partner to some of the biggest brands in news, entertainment, sports and talk. This includes major sports such as NFL, the NCAA and the Olympics, major events such as the Academy of Country Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, and even the Grammys. Cumulus has risen to become the nation’s leading provider of country music and lifestyle entertainment through its renowned NASH brand; named for the country music center that is the Nashville, Tennessee brand. NASH caters to country music fans nationwide through the use of radio programming, exclusive digital content, and live events. Cumulus Radio serves a demographically-diverse group across its 90 US markets. [1] 

Cumulus and Westwood One Stations


Cumulus hired Mary Berner, a former CEO of Reader’s Digest Executive, as the new Chief Executive Officer to try and turnaround the company in 2015. Before Mary stepped in, Cumulus’ stocks were dropping tremendously. One of Cumulus’ major shareholders, Crestview Partners, pushed out the founder Lew Dickey as the CEO and replaced him with Mary Berner. Before the turnover, the shares had dropped 80% of their value whereas after the turnover the shares dropped 39% after a couple of months. [8] [13]

In the coming months Mary is striving towards a “multi-year exercise” starting with fixing the operational basics. Secondly, she’ll be working on retaining the employees and improving satisfaction within the company due to a 50% turnover rate in 18 months in the company of 6,000 people. Her final area of concern is the rating decline for the company. [5] 

“This company has lost more than a dollar of revenue for every dollar of expense reduction over the past four years,” she said. “So I’m focused on intelligently managing the cost structure.” – Mary Berner [7] 

Although Cumulus’ headquarters is in Atlanta, Mary Berner is stationed within New York City, within the large market in which its syndicated service Westwood One caters to. According to Mary, there are four challenging feats she is facing with Cumulus which includes inescapable clean-up items from prior years, non-existent investment in systems, annual cost escalation due to the dynamic industry, and major capital investments. [5]


The New Cumulus CEO, Mary Berner


Cumulus had a low third quarter with a $286.1 million in the quarter. This was down from the $289.4 million in 2015. The low numbers are due to CEO Mary Berner’s adjustment period, the falling rating decline, and the lack of company structure. Recently however, Cumulus is heading into the fourth quarter with a positive stride with a 35.58% increase over the past 5 days. The price target for the company is currently at $5.00. Consequently, the Wall Street analysts recommend a hold recommendation for investors. [5] [8]


Cumulus Media Equity Stub 2016

Cumulus is consumed in $2.5 billion in debt ever since the former CEO, Dickey Berner bought up several stations and lost Citadel back in 2010. However, a spokesperson disclosed that enough generated operational cash and asset sales will prevent Cumulus from becoming bankrupt and expects to gain $200 million at the end of 2017 from real estate sales. Furthermore, “We have no plans to file for bankruptcy and the next maturity for debt is not for three more years until May of 2019, so we have significant runway to begin to stabilize and ultimately grow the business,” the Cumulus spokesman said. [16]

In terms of trends, as of November 28, the 14-day ADX for Cumulus Media is at 39.28 which indicates a strong trend for investors. However, this number reflects the trend strength but not the direction of the trend. In another technical reading, Cumulus presently has a 14-day Commodity Channel Index of 31.93 which reflects the company’s normal oscillation since the reading is between -100 to +100. This represents how the Cumulus commodities are in a normal range between the overbought and oversold territory. These technical readings further reflect the positive direction for Cumulus entering into the fourth quarter. [6] [7] [12]

Recent Antitrust Lawsuit

Last April, Cumulus was sued for an antitrust suit by Talk Radio Network Enterprises LLC and three other Radio networks for allegedly conspiring with Westwood One, Cumulus’ advertising package bundler. This suit was filed in Oregon due to a group of radio producers claiming that Westwood One and Cumulus were trying to monopolize a national radio that solely benefits the Cumulus station while undermining independent programmers. By conspiring to monopolize, Cumulus Media and Westwood are violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. In addition, these companies are already thwarted due to Cumulus Media controlling 90% of the national syndicated ad bundling market. [9]

In a complex system of advertising bundling, the companies buying advertisements expect a certain amount of trust from Westwood One. These companies have been experiencing a lack of transparency of payment from Westwood. Similarly, Westwood has been accused of paying the companies lower than the deserved amount. However, this month the Oregon judges decided to gut the claim by rejecting half of the allegations based on prejudice. According to an attorney for the group of Radio Networks, they have no intent of stopping the suit. [10]

The Issue

While, Mary is working to solve the company’s problems, the main issue with the company is the large amount of debt it holds. This monetary debt is due to the former purchase of Citadel, a Nevada-based broadcasting holding company and the general decline in Radio revenue due to the amount of music streaming services online. Michael Harrison, a former radio station owner and publisher of RadioInfo agrees: 

“Cumulus is suffering from the tail end effects of the era of consolidation… The biggest problem in the industry, he said, is “smothering debt,” – Michael Harrison [7]


The biggest question for Cumulus is how to combat the growing online streaming music services and the consolidation of radio amidst their staggering debt and turnover struggles. Cumulus must continue to cut spending and manage to find a solution that will boost revenue through services that can compete as opposed to services that tail behind the forefront of the changing world of radio. In terms of debt handling, the company has until May of 2019 to pay it off which should hopefully be enough time for Berner to stabilize the company.

Works Cited

[1] Cumulus Website. Retrieved: November 28, 2016.

[2] Jackson, Hazel. “Market Rating: Are Analysts Bullish Cumulus Media Inc (NASDAQ:CMLS) After Last Week?” Money Making Articles Hot Stuff. Retrieved: November 21, 2016.

[3] NASH Website. Retrieved: November 28, 2016.

[4] Cumulus Key Executives. Retrieved: November 28, 2016.

[5] “Big Challenges Remain For Radio’s Number Two.” Radio Ink. Streamline Publishing, Inc. Retrieved: November 28, 2016.

[6] Ho, Rodney. “Cumulus Media Drowning in Debt, Stock Slides.” Radio and TV Talk. Cox Media Group. Retrieved: November 29, 2016. 

[7] Grantham, Russell. “Cumulus Media Hit by Debt, Radio Industry Troubles.” Cumulus Media Hit by Debt, Radio Industry Troubles. Cox Media Group. Retrieved: November 29, 2016.

[8] Karp, Hannah. “Cumulus CEO Aims to Revive Radio Broadcaster.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved: November 29, 2016. 

[9] Sege, Adam. “Cumulus Hit With Antitrust Suit Over Advertising Payouts.” Law360. Portfolio Media, Inc. Retrieved: November 29, 2016. 

[10] Koenig, Bryan. “Cumulus Media Gets Advertising Antitrust Suit Gutted.” Law360. Portfolio Media Inc. Retrieved: November 29, 2016. 

[11] Oliveira, Michael Wiggins De. “Cumulus Media: A Highly Speculative Equity Stub.” Seeking Alpha. Retrieved: November 30, 2016.

[12] Weakley, Vanessa. “Looking at the Gauges on Cumulus Media Inc. (CMLS).” Microcap. Retrieved: November 30, 2016.

[13] Atkinson, Claire. “Cumulus Media’s New CEO Can’t Stop Company Slide.” NYPost. Retrieved: November 30, 2016.

[14] “Struggling Cumulus Media Loses its CFO” American City Business Journal. Retrieved: November 30, 2016.

[15] “Organizational Leadership Changes at Cumulus Media” MusicRow. Retrieved: November 30, 2016.

[16] Grantham, Russell. “Radio Giant Cumulus Tumbles After Flying High”Cox Media Group. Retrieved: November 29, 2016.



Sarah Rebetje, Kate Weyant, Eddie
Cumulus Logo

Cumulus Logo – [1]


Cumulus Media is a radio broadcasting company with an audience reach of 245 million. Cumulus distributes its sports, news, talk, and entertainment content through its 447 stations that are owned-and-operated by the company. The company’s reach expands across 90 markets in the United States, including eight of the top ten markets in the country [1]. In a $260 million deal in December of 2013, Cumulus acquired Dial Global, Inc., and renamed it Westwood One. Westwood One now serves as a programming service, allowing Cumulus to deliver its content across multiple platforms [4].

Key Executives 

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer [2]

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer [2]


John Abbot – Executive VP, Treasurer, and Chief Financial Officer [3]








Richard Denning – Senior VP, Secretary and General Council [5]

Westwood One

Westwood One

Westwood One is a national syndication company that was acquired by Cumulus Media in 2013. Originally known as Dial Global, the company functioned under CBS for over three decades and specialized in syndicated sports broadcasting. Currently, they cover sports such as football in the NFL, golf during The Masters, and broadcast Olympic coverage every two years for both the Winter and Summer games [4]. Westwood One is producing four Christmas from Nov 26th to December 1st 2016. Some of the featured acts will include Train, Neil Diamond and Rascal Flatts. Westwood One looks to create relevant content that pertains to the upcoming Holiday of Christmas [15].


NASH FM is a Cumulus-owned media brand and group of radio station broadcasting across the country. Named after the cultural center of country music, Nashville Tennessee, the NASH FM brand includes 36 different local radio stations that all broadcast on an FM frequency. This brand’s content is broadcasted through the the nation and covers genres from country to rock to hip-hop. It has over 300K followers on their official Twitter account, and often host shows with famous country singers as guests.

Pictured above is the winner of the NASH Next 2016 Contest, Todd O'Niell. Hosted by NASH FM, this contest seeks to find the best talent that might be the next big thing in country music [].

Pictured above is the winner of the NASH Next 2016 Contest, Todd O’Niell. Hosted by NASH FM, this contest seeks to find the best talent that might be the next big thing in country music [13].

As well as being a local station in Iowa, NASH FM also syndicates its shows on a national level under the guidance of Cumulus [7].

The Downfall

For Cumulus, 2015 was a year of tragedy. The company accumulated $2.5 billion in debt. The share price of Cumulus was worth spare change, dropping from its original price by almost 90 percent [8]. One reason this striking increase in debt occurred was because of the hit that the overall radio industry has taken from a significant decrease in listeners these past few years as online streaming content has become more popular. Just in 2016, the revenue of the industry has fallen flat [10]. Cumulus’ top competitor, iHeartmedia, even suffered from this online conversion with its share price dropping by 95 percent [8]. Cumulus has also still been struggling with paying off the debt it accumulated when it bought Citadel, taking on a debt count of $2.8 billion [9]. Cumulus also made the mistake of neglecting tp focus on local markets and caring only about its acquisition of Westwood One and Citadel. Cumulus’ risky business decisions have led the company to drown rather than thrive [8]. However, the new CEO of the Cumulus, Mary Berner, seems to have turned the company in a more positive direction [12].


In the past three years, Cumulus has seen a decline in sales revenue, a rise in sale expenses, and thus a decline in its net income.

Net income comparison between 3Q2015 and 3Q2016 [6]

Net income comparison between 3Q2015 and 3Q2016 [6]

In 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was $1.26 billion, with a net income of $11.4 million. The following year, in 2015, their net revenue was $289.44 million with a net income loss of $542.18 million. This is in part due to the massive amount of debt that it has accumulated ($2.5 billion). In 2016, Cumulus announced at the end of the Third Quarter that its net revenue so far for the year is $286.14 million, which is 1.1% down from 2015. The company also reported that 2016’s net income is $32.96 million, which is up from a net income loss of $541 million. 895 million in the first three-quarters of 2015, $14.4 million of its expenses were spent on a legal dispute with CBS over syndicated content.

President Mary Berner expressed the failures of previous years and the somewhat hopeful future of the company by stating that Cumulus, “gained share for the first time in at least four years (in 2016)” [6].


As the newest CEO, Mary Berner is leading a key initiative to turn around the company. Berner has an extensive resume, including her position as CEO at Reader’s Digest Association, Fairchild Publications, and Association of Magazine Media [12]. Berner has experience with companies in trouble, helping Reader’s Digest at a time when it was undergoing reorganization due to bankruptcy [8]. With her expert background in managing large companies, Berner has immediately taken on the challenge of addressing key issues of decreased focus on national syndication, and increased focus on employee satisfaction and local affiliates [12].

In order to combat a large amount of debt that has been accumulated by the company, Cumulus plans to create a more open dialogue with its stakeholders. This way, Cumulus can come up with strategies aimed at reducing the debt, because attempts in previous years have not worked. Cumulus also stated that it will review all possible options in order to its maximize its efficiency on both a corporate, national and local level.

Cumulus has announced that the company will undergo a restructuring of its organization. It will shift the control of the company into the hands of its localized affiliates and work from a “bottoms-up” approach by strengthening its foundation. Cumulus believes that this approach will increase ratings as well as improve the operation of the company.

Employee Turnover over the course of 2015 and 2016 [14].

Employee Turnover over the course of 2015 and 2016 [14].

With prior negative feedback from employees about the culture of Cumulus, the company looks to initiate a better work environment [12]. Communications will be enhanced through a “top-down” process, where Berner stated that she will answer any employee’s email within 48 hours. Policies about vacation and leave will be reevaluated so that employees will receive improved benefits. Though the merit system has not been manipulated for the past ten years, Cumulus declared that the system will be increased to promote motivation and work efficiency. This initiative has reflected positively among employees. As shown in the above graph, turnover significantly decreased between 2015 and 2016, where voluntary sales turnover experience the most impact, where turnover was reduced from 42% to 27% from April of 2015 to April of 2016 [14].

Cumulus has also started to improve its sales execution in hopes of decreasing its debt. The company aims to incorporate new sales strategies both on a national and a local level. Cumulus also stated that it will extend measurements of sales productivity in order to gather more research about what works and what does not work. That way it can tackle issues and create more productivity in the future. Cumulus is also trying to improve both its marketing tactics, and improve the training given to new employees.

As Cumulus strives to create a more optimal working environment with increased employee satisfaction, the future looks brighter than it did before Mary Berner stepped up as CEO. With the restructuring of management, as well as the focus on local markets over national syndication, Cumulus has taken the necessary steps in order to stay afloat. Although the company still needs to address the debt situation, Cumulus continues to make strides towards increasing revenue and slowly paying the debt off [11].



[1] Cumulus. Retrieved: 22 November 2016.

[2] Mary G. Geber. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: 22 November 2016.

[3] John Abbot. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: 22 November 2016.

[4] Cumulus Completes Previously Announced Acquisition of Westwood One. Global News Wire. Retrieved: 22 November 2016.

[5] Richard Denning. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: 22 November 2016.

[6] Cumulus Reports Operating Results for Third Quarter 2016. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: 27 November 2016.

[7] NASH FM 94.7. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: November 28 2016.

[8] Radio giant Cumulus tumbles after flying high. Grantham, Russell. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved: 24 November 2016.

[9] Cumulus Media drowning in debt, stock slides. Ho, Rodney. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved: 25 November 2016.

[10] Will 2017 Be Better For Radio? Radio Ink. Retrieved: November 27 2016.

[11] 2016 First Quarter Earnings Call Presentation. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: November 25 2016.

[12] (9-19-2016) The Cumulus Turnaround. Radio Ink. Retrieved: November 27 2016.

[13] And the Winner is: Country Singer Todd O’Neill Wins NASH Next 2016 Challenge including Cumulus Radio Airplay Across the U.S. and Big Machine Label Group Recording Contract. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: 28 November 2016.

[14] 2016 First Quarter Earnings Call Presentation. Cumulus Media. Retrieved: November 25 2016.

[15] Westwood One Making Christmas Special. Radio Ink. Retrieved: November 28 2016.




Rdio logo. Photo courtesy of Rdio.

Contact Information [1]
Phone: (415) 763-7211
62 First Street, Suit 500
San Francisco, CA 94105


Rdio is an online music streaming service based in San Francisco [2]. It was founded in 2010 by Skype co-creator Janus Friis and began entirely as a subscription based music service [2].  While Rdio has been lauded for its design within the technology community, the company has experienced a slower take off the ground [2]. Rdio attempted to become a more holistic entertainment service through its launch of Vdio, a video service, in April of 2013 [2]. However the project was unsuccessful and discontinued just eight months later. Following a series of layoffs, Rdio announced on December 3rd of 2013 that Anthony Bay would be appointed as CEO [3]. Bay was previously global head of video at Amazon [3].

Key Executives [1]

Janus Friis, founder of Rdio. Photo courtesy of

Anthony Bay, Chief Executive Officer of Rdio. Photo courtesy of Patrick T. Fallon.

Carter Adamson, Chief Operating Officer. Photo courtesy of Lien Multimedia

Drew Larner, Vice Chairman and Strategic Advisor. Photo courtesy of

Scott Bagby, President of International. Photo courtesy of The Music Void.


On February 3rd of 2011 Rdio released it had raised $17.5 million worth of funds with a list of investors including Friis, Mangrove Capital Partners, and Skype [4]. Rdio’s biggest deal to date struck on September 16, 2013 when it announced a partnership with Cumulus Media, the second largest radio operator in the US [5]. In exchange for granting Cumulus an estimated 15% equity stake in Pulser Media, Rdio’s parent company, Cumulus will provide Rdio with programming and promotional services valued at $75 million over five years [6]. Although this deal was a trade and brought in no cash for either Rdio or Cumulus, it allowed Rdio the capability to offer a “fermium” subscription model [7]. Cumulus’ sale agents will sell commercial spots and share the ad revenue [7]. Rdio has yet to reveal its subscription numbers, however Spotifiy, its greatest rival, currently has 24 million users with 6 million paying [6].

Current News

Subscription Switch-Ups 
Rdio proved it could adapt to the music streaming landscape after announcing it would offer a free subscription model for users through ad-supported stations this year [7]. It is essentially an Internet radio experience although Rdio still offers its paid subscription options, Web and Unlimited. This coincides with the hope that a freemium model will serve as a gateway for users to sign up for a paying subscription. Web allows full access to computers for $4.99 per month while Unlimited extends to all devices for $9.99 per month [8]. While Rdio has offered family plans since 2011, earlier this month the streaming service prices were lowered to $5 for each additional family member included on the plan (which levels its family plan price with Spotify) [8]. A family of two costs $14.99 per month with $5 for each additional person however if a family is bigger than five, users must pay the full monthly price of $9.99 for any additional members [8].

Taylor Swift Streaming Debacle 

Taylor Swift’s music remains on Rdio despite her Spotify withdrawal. Photo courtesy of Rdio.

Taylor Swift made headlines last month when she pulled all her music from Spotify as she feels they do not fairly compensate music creators and is uncomfortable with the business model [9]. This has brought about questions for the future of music streaming with regard to whether other big name artists will follow suit in pulling their music. Bay has been speaking out in support of Swift and all artist’s choice in how their music is distributed [10]. Due to Swift’s fall out with Spotify, Rdio has been drawing attention to the fact that users still have access to her full catalog of music (with the exception of her most recent album, 1989) through both Rdio’s ad-supported Internet radio and paid subscriptions [10]. Additionally, Rdio currently has 30 million tracks in its library–10 million more than Spotify [11].

Toronto Film Festival Partnership [12]

Ellie Goulding during a Rdio sponsored performance. Photo courtesy of ET Canada.

This past September Rdio was the official music partner for the Toronto International Film Festival. Rdio had a “music hub” at the event with giveaways, listening stations, as well as live music. In fact, Rdio sponsored a free Ellie Goulding concert at Massey Hall. Attendees just needed to visit the “Rdio House” to receive tickets where they could browse through Rdio products and plug into listening stations to listen and browse through Rdio’s library of music. Bay explained the partnership with Toronto was a marketing opportunity to strengthen their presence in Canada.

Roku Launches Rdio App [13]
In August of 2014 Rdio announced plans to launch a new app on Roku. Rdio has been investing heavily in promotion, such as having a Rdio app featured on Roku’s television remote controls. With this, Rdio joins the ranks of just three other services (Netflix, Amazon, Vudu) who have been allotted a remote control button. As a result of this deal, Rdio can now be accessed through three avenues of television: Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV.

Future Plans

Audio Upgrade [14]
On October 16th Rdio announced its plans to upgrade their entire music catalog to AAC audio files, which is a higher sound quality than MP3. This ushers in a new period for Rdio where users can choose which sound quality they prefer listening to on all devices. Paying users even have the ability to decide which sound quality they want for downloaded songs during offline listening. Rdio also expects that changing from MP3 streaming to 64 AAC streaming could reduce data consumption by a third. This is also welcome news for musicians such as  Grateful Dead band member Bob Weir, who worries that poor audio quality during streaming impedes upon the listening experience . Therefore Weir has granted Rdio an exclusive selection of tracks from TRI Studios to support the company’s move in raising the bar of audio quality.

Global Expansion

Rdio acquisition of 9 new territories brings its reach to 60 countries

Rdio acquisition of 9 new territories brings its total reach to 60 countries. Photo courtesy of Rdio.

Rdio announced in May of 2014 that it would be available in nine additional countries throughout Europe and Asia, bringing its total reach to 60 countries [15]. There are five Mediterranean and Eastern European countries  that Rdio will now be able to reach totaling 25 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia [15]. Asia has remained a relatively untapped market for Rdio although its services have been available in Malaysia and Hong Kong for just over a year [15]. 400 million people reside in the Asian countries Rdio is currently working toward expanding–Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore [15]. While all five of the European territories have been classified as “high income”, Singapore remains the only Asian country that is also categorized within this higher income bracket. In an effort to further push its international reach, this March Rdio acquired Indian streaming service Dhingana with plans to relaunch it later this year [15]. At the time of the purchase, Dhingana had 9 million monthly active users [16]. It was also projected that India will become the largest purchaser of smartphones after China in 2014, an estimated 92% of which will be new users [16]. These are promising statistics considering over 75% of Dhingana users access the streaming service through their mobile devices [15].


[1] Company Overview of Rdio, Inc. Retrieved: 28     Nov 2014

[2]  CEO: Rdio’s problem? Not enough people use Rdio Retrieved: 24 Nov 2014

[3] Rdio Names Former Amazon Exec Anthony Bay Its New CEO Retrieved: 24 Nov 2014

[4] Rdio secures USD 17.5 mln in financing round Retrieved: 13 Nov 2014

[5] Internet Radio Business with Free Listening Update Retrieved: 24 Nov 2014

[6] Music Service Rdio in Deal With Cumulus Retrieved: 13 Nov 2014

[7] Rdio to Expand Its Offerings as Cumulus Partnership Heats Up This Summer Retrieved: 13 Nov 2014

[8] Rdio Follows Spotify, Drops Family Plan Pricing Retrieved: 28 Nov 2014

[9] Here’s Why Taylor Swift Pulled Her Music From Spotify Retrieved: 9 Nov 2014

[10] Rdio on Taylor Swift’s Spotify block: “This is art. It’s the artist’s choice” Retrieved: 13 Nov 2014

[11] Spotify and Rdio square off Retrieved: 30 Nov 2014

[12] Rdio Partner With Toronto Film Festival Retrieved: 28 Oct 2014

[13] Rdio is getting ready to launch a completely revamped Roku app Retrieved: 24 Nov 2014

[14] Rdio upgrades the audio quality of its entire music library Retreived: 28 Nov 2014

[15] Rdio Now Playing In Nine More European & Asian Countries Retrieved: 15 Oct 2014

[16] Smartphone explosion in 2014 will see ownership in India pass US Retrieved: 15 Oct 2014


by Josh Campbell

Cumulus Media, Inc.

3280 Peachtree Road, NW Suite 2300
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
TEL. (404) 949-0700
FAX. (404) 949-0740 [1]

Cumulus Media Logo [2]

1.0 Company Overview

Cumulus Media Inc. is the largest “pure-play” radio company in the United States, with roughly 550 stations in 110 cities, including major markets such as San Francisco, Houston, and Dallas. [3][4] Cumulus Media also operates Cumulus Media Networks, a network with over 4,500 radio affiliates to which Cumulus provides content [5]. Cumulus Media Networks syndicates talk shows by popular personalities like Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Mike Huckabee, Michael Savage, and Geraldo. [6] In addition to its radio holdings, Cumulus Media also owns SweetJack, a daily deals service similar to Groupon. [7]  Cumulus is using its extensive radio network to market the relatively new SweetJack. [8]

2.0 Key People

Lewis W. Dickey [10]

Chairman, President, and CEO–Lewis Dickey: Lewis W. Dickey received his bachelor’s from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard University.  In addition to serving in his current capacity at Cumulus Media, Mr. Dickey is also on the Board of Directors of the North American Broadcasting Co. and National Association of Broadcasters. [9]

Director–Alexis Glick: Alexis Glick received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and was previously employed as a Principal by CNBC, Inc., and as Vice President of Fox Business Network. [11]

3.0 Financials

3.1 Income Statement [12]

(2012): Revenue: $1,076,600,000 (+51.67%)

Gross Profit: $415,100,000 (+51.13%)

(2011): Revenue: $520,000,000 (+54.50%)

Gross Profit: $203,700,000 (+54.39%)

(2010): Revenue: $236,600,000 (-8.12%)

Gross Profit: $92,900,000 (+2.69%)

Cumulus Media has had several good years, with both revenue and gross profit rising by roughly fifty percent in 2012 and 2011.  Much of this increase is likely due to a number of acquisitions that Cumulus has made recently, most notably its takeover of Citadel Broadcasting Corporation. [13]  Cumulus is doing well when compared with what is arguably its biggest competitor, Clear Channel.  Clear Channel Communications (CCC), while dwarfing Cumulus in revenue, earning  $6,246,884 in 2012, lost money last year, pulling in a net income of -$425,500,000. [14]

3.2 Stock History and Target

Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) started the year 2013 at 2.66, and has since risen to 3.28 as of April 5, 2013.  On April 9, 2012, approximately this time last year, Cumulus Media was traded at 3.32. [15] This shows CMLS stock to be relatively stable in the long term, though there were some fluctuations in the short term.  On November 27, Cumulus dipped to 2.16, its low point of this past year (Apr 2012-Apr 2013).  Cumulus Media’s target for the end of the year 2013 is a stock price of 4.00. [16]

As a comparison, Clear Channel Communications (OTCBB: CCMO) is currently traded at 2.80.  CCC’s stock price has decreased from a year ago, when it was traded at roughly 5.25.  Over the past year, Clear Channel’s stock price has fluctuated to a far greater extent than that of Cumulus Media, hitting a high of 6.2 in late April and a low of 1.2 in late July [17]

4.0 Recent Activity

4.1 January

The beginning of 2013 saw legendary New York DJ Don Imus’s old contract with Cumulus expire.  However, the well-known personality stayed on the air under new conditions specified in a deal inked with Cumulus in mid-December of 2012. [18]

Nash 94.7 Logo [23]

Possibly the company’s most publicized decision this year, the purchase of WFME from Family Stations for $40,000,000 allowed Cumulus to rebrand the previously religious station as NASH 94.7, a country music station–the first to serve the major New York City area in many years. [19][20] The station has proven that there was a latent market in NYC for country music; by March, NASH was already averaging 1 million listeners each week. [21] Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has stated that he hopes NASH 94.7 will be just the start of a “multimedia entertainment brand” including not only radio, but also television, online, and publishing.  He stated that this will help draw advertisers to the brand by offering one stop shopping for cohesive advertising on all platforms. [22]

4.2 February

Cumulus Media Networks signed a deal to distribute college football broadcasts by Gino Torretta, a former college athlete who currently provides play-by-play and commentary on a college football game each week. [24]

4.3 March

In March, 2013, Cumulus Media had its earning call for Q4 2012, which showed the net income of the company dip slightly, as many analysts had predicted. [25][26][27] Despite this, the stock price of Cumulus Media did not decrease significantly. [28]

4.4 April

In April, 2013, it was reported that the Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and CFO of Cumulus Media, Joseph P. Hannan, purchased 25,000 shares of Cumulus stock at the market price of $3.30 per share.  This most recent purchase increases his total holdings in the company to 70,943 shares. [29]  Insiders in Cumulus Media tend to buy CMLS stock in far greater quantities and with far greater frequency than competing company’s executives buy their respective company’s stock.  This is seen as a good sign by many analysts. [30] 

5.0  Future Plans 

Lewis Dickey, the CEO of Cumulus Media, recently conducted a series of interviews with Bloomberg TV about the future of Cumulus Media and of the radio industry in general.  Mr. Dickey was excited about the future of SweetJack, the previously mentioned daily deals service that Cumulus Media just started offering.  Cumulus is optimistic about the future of SweetJack, believing that the “daily-deals” style business model is essentially a sound one.  Cumulus has partnered with Clear Channel to air ads for SweetJack on the latter’s stations as well as Cumulus’s own affiliates. [31]

Cumulus hopes SweetJack will allow them to tap into the daily deals market [35]

Dickey also stated that he believes the radio industry is headed towards more consolidation of ownership, made possible by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Responding to that trend in the industry, Cumulus is planning new acquisitions in the near future. [32] Cumulus industry has been keen on acquiring stations in the past, having orchestrated over 150 acquisitions since their founding in 1997, including the 2011 buyouts of Cumulus Media Partners, LLC and Citadel Broadcasting, which added 32 and 225 stations to Cumulus’s total amount, respectively. [33][34]

The future looks bright for Cumulus Media; The estimated earnings growth for the next fiscal year for Cumulus, at 83.9% are the highest among several large communications companies, including Discovery Communications, Scripps Communications, and CBS. [36][37]







































Emmis Communications Corporation

by Mia Kuhn

The Emmis Comunications Corporation’s logo. Image courtesy of Emmis Communications.

Address: One Emmis Plaza
            40 Monument Circle, Suite 700
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: 317.266.0100



As the 9th largest radio group in the United States, Emmis Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EMMS) owns and runs several magazine and radio systems. Emmis operates on the medium to large scale for its market size and has been formally acknowledged as the Most Respected Radio Company in a poll by some of the industry’s leading CEOs. [1]

Company Overview:

New York City’s source for all things Hip-Hop. “Where Hip-Hop Lives.” Image courtesy of WQHT-FM.

Emmis has been evolving since 1979 when Jeff Smulyan and a couple others bought WSVL in Shelbyville, Indiana. One purchase after another, the company has accumulated properties to build what is now a global enterprise with stations from Austin, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri to Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. Emmis went public in 1994 and now holds ownership over some of the nation’s largest markets, such as New York City’s WQHT-FM (Hot 97) and Los Angeles’s KPWR-FM (Power 106). [2]

As one of the best places to work in Indiana 2012, Emmis stands for a conducive working environment while it also maintains reputable radio, publishing, digital, social impact, and TagStation® and NextRadio™ operations. The company has embodied a definitive “Emmis  culture,” where they believe in risk-taking and positive guidance of employees in order to get innovative and creative outcomes while having fun.

Emmis Communications Corportation was voted one of the best places to work in Indiana in 2012. Image courtesy of

Corporate Philosophy (1 being most important):

  1. Take care of your audiences and advertisers – think of them and you’ll win.
  2. Be passionate about what you do and compassionate about how you do it.
  3. Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.
  4. Never jeopardize your integrity – we win the right way or we don’t win at all
  5. Believe in yourself – if you think you can make it happen, you will. [3]
Despite the radio industry weakening with the emergence of online radio presence and more popular news and music acquiring devices, Emmis proceeds to shed positive light on the matter by embracing its corporate philosophy. The corporation’s administration is currently following its eleven commandments to create new and interesting projects.

“Great media. Great People. Great Service.” Screenshot of a graphic of Emmis Communications Corporation’s logline from


Board of Directors:

Jeff Smulyan, Chairman of Board, President, and CEO of Emmis Communications. Image courtesy of

Jeff Smulyan is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Emmis Communications. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Telecommunications and History from University of Southern California. Smulyan’s education propelled him into radio. He managed a station in Indianapolis and Omaha prior to forming Emmis in 1980. Smulyan has held several high-esteemed positions in the radio field; he is the former director of the National Association of Broadcasters, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and past chair of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. [4]

Patrick Walsh, EVP, CFO, and COO of Emmis Communications. Image courtesy of

Patrick Walsh has been the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of Emmis Communications since 2006. Walsh earned a degree in business from the University of Michigan and gained much of his experience from being the CFO and Senior Vice President at iBiquity Digital Corporation. [5]

Company Officers (In addition to Jeff Smulyan and Patrick Walsh):

  • Rick Cummings –  President of Programming for Emmis Radio
  • Scott Enright –  Executive Vice President and General Counsel
  • Greg Loewen –  President of Publishing and Chief Strategy Officer
  • Paul Brenner –  Senior Vice President – Chief Technology Officer
  • Ian D. Arnold – Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary
  • Ryan A. Hornaday –  Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer
  • Valerie C. Maki –  Senior Vice President – Emmis Radio Division, Los Angeles Market Manager
  • Deborah Paul – Executive Vice President – Editorial Director – Publishing
  • Traci L. Thomson – Vice President of Human Resources

Board of Directors:

  • Susan Bayh – Visiting Professor, Butler University
  • Gary Kassef – Former Executive Vice President and General Counsel
  • Richard Leventhal – President & Majority Owner of LMCS, LLC.
  • Peter Lund – Media Consultant and former President & CEO of CBS Television
  • Greg Nathanson – Former Television Division President
  • Lawrence Sorrel – Tailwind Capital Partners

Other Key Executives

  • Angie May Cook – Vice President, Emmis Digital
  • Sarah Harris – Founder, Incite
  • Alexandra Cameron – Senior Vice President, Emmis Radio Division; New York Market Manager
  • Amy Saralegui – Vice President/Group Publisher, National Sales, Emmis Publishing [6]


Most Recent Financial Data:

A press release from October 12, 2012 describes Emmis Communication’s second quarter as being negatively impacted by “station divestitures.” The past year illustrates net revenue for the second fiscal quarter increased 1 percent, from $54.4 million to $55.0 million.  Pro forma radio net revenues increased 2 percent, from $41.4 million to $42.0 million. This growth in radio revenues exceeded market revenue growth in the quarter, which was less than 1 percent. The Motley Fool nasdaq report card contains the most recent analysis and assessments of NASDAQ:EMMS. [7]

Emmis Communications Corporation notes solid growth in second quarter pro forma revenue growth. This table reconciles reported results (dollars are in thousands). Image courtesy of

Emmis Communications also has a more detailed and consolidated version of their second quarter Financial Data and Subsidiaries Report available for viewing.

Emmis Communications- Class A (EMMS) Snapshot. Screenshot courtesy of


With the radio industry already struggling with the emergence of MP3s, Internet radio, and specializing radio services, it doesn’t help Emmis Communications that it has to compete against bigger radio corporations. The company’s top three competitors are Clear Channel Communication, Inc., Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, which was bought by Cumulus Media, and CBS Radio Inc. [8]

Companies financially relative to Emmis Communications. Screenshot courtesy of Google NASDAQ data.


Emmis Radio:

August 22, 2012, Emmis Communications’ Terre Haute, Indiana sector signed an agreement to add an ESPN brand station, WSDM-FM, to its collection. It also managed to acquire WSDX-AM. Both of these stations were signed over by Crossroads Investments LLC. Both groups also signed a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement (LMA) that allowed Emmis-Terre Haute to organize and sell advertising on the stations. This agreement went active Septembers 1, 2012. [9]

WIBC, 93.1 FM, Indy’s News Center. Image Courtesy of WIBC and Emmis Communications.

On November 17, 2012, Emmis bought an Indianapolis- area translator for $375,000 from Kaspar Broadcasting, Co., Inc. The official document filed with the FCC stated the new acquisition will rebroadcast Talk WIBC, Indianapolis. [10]

In addition to these recently acquired stations, Emmis currently has these FM and AM stations nationally and internationally –

Austin, Texas

KGSR-FM (93.3)

KLBJ-AM (590)

KLBJ-FM (93.7)

KROX-FM (101.5)

Comedy 102.7


KBPA-FM (103.5 BOB)

St. Louis, Missouri


KPNT-FM (105.7 The Point)

KFTK-FM (FM NewsTalk 97.1)

KHIT-FM (K-Hits 95)

Indianapolis, Indiana

WLHK-FM (97.1 Hank FM)

WIBC-FM (93.1 FM)

WFNI-AM (1070 The Fan)

WYXB-FM (105.7 FM)

Network Indiana


WTHI-FM (99.9 FM)

WWVR-FM (105.5 FM)

WFNF-AM (1130 The Fan)


X Radio Expres


Radio Star FM

Radio FM+

Radio Fresh [11]

Emmis Publishing:

Screenshot of “Los Angeles Magazine” graphic. Image courtesy of

Emmis currently has publications in California, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and Texas. The corporation has been involved magazine publication since 1988 and is currently operating 6 different magazines. In California, “Orange Coast” and “Los Angeles Magazine” in Georgia, “Atlanta“, in Ohio “Cincinatti” , in Indianapolis, “Indianapolis Monthly“, and in Texas, “Texas Monthly“. [12]

December 2012 Issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Screenshot courtesy of

Features of December 2012’s issue of “Los Angeles Magazine” include winter escapes, a holiday gift guide, and seasonal delicacies. The magazine concentrates on providing consumers information on what’s best in LA. From “The Guide” giving the 30 best places to go this month to what films are must see. [13]

Emmis Digital:

Emmis is keeping track of their mentions using the Twitter handle of @EmmisDigital. This sector is strictly social media content. Emmis is also present on Facebook. [14]

Emmis Communications Applications:

October 4, 2012, Emmis Interactive was sold to Marketron in order to provide Emmis Communications Corporation the ability to maximize commercialization of its FM/Analog Radio Smartphone application. Although Emmis sold their property, they still proceed to work with Marketron Interactive on their future developments and distributions of the renowned Digital Suite of software and services. These deluxe systems include BaseStation®, GeoStation® and Guidable™.  Emmis Communications remains a primary customer of Marketron and will gain a portion of its economic successes. [15]

NextRadio is the future of smartphone radio reception for Emmis Communications. Screenshot courtesy of

As of November 28, 2012, the new HD radio application called NextRadio™ was in the final steps of beta testing, according to Emmis. The corporation intends on marketing NextRadio™ to wireless carriers so consumers can listen to live and local radio without having to absorb their data plans. Emmis Communications Corporation continues to build their current TagStation® application and have high hopes for a successful launch of the NextRadio™ service. [16] [17]



[1] Who We Are: About Emmis Communications,

[2] Who We Are: The Emmis Story,

[3] The Eleven Commandments of Emmis Communications,

[4] Jeff Smulyan, Chairman, President, & CEO,

[5] Patrick Walsh, EVP/CFO/COO,

[6] Executives,

[7] Emmis Communications Reports Solid Second Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Growth,

[8] Top Competitors for Emmis Communications Corporation,

[9] Emmis -Terre Haute to Acquire WSDM-FM/WSDX-AM,

[10] Emmis Buys Indianapolis-Area Translator,

[11] Emmis Radio,

[12] Emmis Publishing,

[13] Los Angeles Magazine, December 2012,

[14] Emmis Digital,

[15] Emmis Sells Emmis Interactive to Marketron,

[16] New App For HD Radio in Smartphones Now in Final Beta Tests,

[17] What’s Next? Emmis Preparing for NextRadio™ for Smartphone Introduction in 2013,